Moments That Matter

Regular training keeps CPR skills sharp

By Brian Spyros

Nancy Clements, a nurse in the PACU at MidState Medical Center, participates in a recertification class. 

Photo by Rusty Kimball

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) — a life-saving tool if someone’s heart or breathing stops — is part of the Basic Life Support skills many Hartford HealthCare colleagues need to know as part of their job. However, research shows these vital skills can begin to deteriorate just three to six months after training if not used often. So, how do you stop that from happening? 

Hartford HealthCare partnered with Resuscitation Quality Improvement (RQI), part of the American Heart Association on a program that allows colleagues to strengthen their skills and retain life-saving techniques by going through training more frequently. Re-certification is now done every three months instead of every two years. 

“This will enhance our skills and give us that confidence to show up at the bedside in the event of an emergency,” said Nancy Clements, RN, in the PACU at MidState Medical Center. “My advice to everyone is don’t be overwhelmed with change, change is good. Keep in mind that as you go through this it’s teaching you and training you to become more competent and confident in an emergency situation.” 

Clements began using RQI when it launched at MidState Medical Center last winter and it didn’t take long for her to notice benefits for both colleagues and patients. “I think my colleagues will find that once they get going with this, the recertification process will be much more simplistic,” she said. 

There are two main elements to RQI. First, colleagues needing certification in BLS, ALS and PALS complete online training through HealthStream every quarter. BLS certification goes a step further with hands-on training on RQI’s Simulation Station with an adult and infant mannequin. The training guides users through the process and ensures hand placement and techniques are up to standards. If they are not, the computer prompts the user to make corrections. 

“Coaching through the computer will let you know if the depth of your compressions is enough, if you’re compressing at a fast rate, if the breaths are enough to provide oxygen,” Clements explained. 

RQI is being launched in a staggered manner across Hartford HealthCare. Colleagues began using RQI in April at The Hospital of Central Connecticut and Rushford. Windham Hospital, Backus Hospital and Natchaug started in June. The rollout will take place at Hartford Hospital, St. Vincent’s Medical Center and Charlotte Hungerford Hospital over the remainder of the year. 

Passion helps Webb teacher pick Golden Apple

By Robin Stanley

Dawn Judson earned a statewide award for her efforts as a first-year teacher at the Webb School in the Valley. 

Photo by Chris Rakoczy 

Assistant teacher Dawn Judson arrives early to her classroom at the Webb School in the Valley to prepare for the day ahead. She places morning worksheets on desks spread several feet apart. She turns on her Chromebook and logs into Zoom, ready to greet a remote learning student. 

Five students trickle in, asking questions about the day ahead and counting down the minutes until favorite elective activities. After morning breakfast and bathroom breaks, Judson turns off the lights and begins 10 minutes of guided meditation. 

She is a second-year teacher at the school, part of the Institute of Living’s special education programs offering therapeutic and educational experiences to students who may require individualized approaches to help them succeed in public school. Webb School in the Valley has 23 elementary/middle school students in classes of four to eight, and an Attendance/Credit Recovery program for high school students. 

“I was hired last year as an assistant teacher, and then the classroom teacher went on maternity leave,” Judson said. “I was only the classroom teacher for three weeks before COVID. Everything I had learned, I had to figure out how to do on Zoom. It was a completely new way of teaching.” 

Instead of lesson planning for the week ahead, she was planning for the month ahead. She was visiting students’ homes to drop off binders of worksheets, and helped colleagues develop binders for their classes. It comes as no surprise that such dedication during her f irst year of teaching was recognized with the Connecticut Association of Private Special Education Facilities Golden Apple Award and induction into the Happiness League, sponsored by LG Electronics. 

Judson said she always knew she wanted to be a teacher, inspired by her teachers growing up. 

“I was in special education when I was in elementary school for three years,” she said. “I had awesome teachers. They supported me and helped me get through everything.” 

Her journey to special education began after teaching in a behavioral program at a public school and realizing her true passion. 

“I loved seeing how students grew from day to day and excelled in the program and, eventually, would return to the regular community,” Judson said. “I love seeing the difference we make. Sometimes, these students get pushed aside and it’s not realized how many things they are good at.” 

In her current classroom, she works alongside Mark Frigo with sixth- and seventh-graders, one of whom is completely remote. Teaching in person and remotely simultaneously takes an extra level of care and planning. 

“Everything has to be modified for the remote learner,” she said “Not every day is easy, but we want to meet all of our students at their level.” 

Judson continues to pursue her passion as a candidate for a master’s degree in special education at the University of Hartford. 

“My amazing co-workers pushed me to go back to school and are now supporting me through my classes,” she said. “Without my team at school, I’m not sure how much longer I would have waited to go back.” 

Chance encounter changes two lives

By Brian Spyros

Dr. John Satterfield, right, and his wife, Anna, left, created a scholarship program for non-clinical staff at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. The first two recipients, Chastity Rivera, second from left, and Walter Taylor, are currently enrolled in college. 

Photo by Rusty Kimball 

Dr. John Satterfield always had an appreciation for hospital colleagues working behind the scenes, especially since his wife, Anna, began as a volunteer at New Britain General Hospital (NBGH) at 14 years old and then moved into food services. 

“I feel like the people who often make the hospital run as efficiently as it does, like food and environmental services, don’t always get the appreciation and recognition they deserve,” he said. 

After meeting in 1985 when Dr. Satterfield was a resident doing rotation on the NBGH ICU where Anna had become a nurse, the couple married. They’re both now at Southington Surgery Center, he as director of anesthesia with North American Partners in Anesthesia and she overseeing preoperative screening. 

In May 2020, Dr. Satterfield had an acute illness requiring hospitalization at The Hospital of Central Connecticut (HOCC), where he met Walter Taylor, a housekeeper in Environmental Services. 

“Walter is a very pleasant person. He was most enjoyable to talk to. I sincerely appreciated his kindness and the attention with which he addressed his work.” Dr. Satterfield said. 

Taylor recalled talking speaking about plans to further his career or education as a pharmacy technician. 

“I told Dr. Satterfield I was looking to move up in the hospital and that I had been homeless for about nine months, traveling between East Hartford and New Britain. I was having to take two buses to get to work,” Taylor said, adding that the job would help him support his young daughter and stepson. 

The Satterfields were so touched that they started a Non-Clinical Employee Continuing Education Support Fund at HOCC to help other non-clinical HOCC staff, similar to Taylor, who wanted to advance their personal and professional growth but needed help making it happen.

“We want to support people and provide them with a greater degree of access to educational opportunities,” explained Dr. Satterfield, who enlisted the help of Dr. Jeff Finkelstein, vice president of medical affairs in the region, and Tina Fabiani, manager of philanthropy.

The first person to receive a scholarship was Chastity Rivera, a 43-year-old biomedical engineering secretary at HOCC who has been wanting to further her education since she was 19. When she graduated from high school, Rivera was asked to temporarily care for a friend’s two small children. Shey then had two children of her own. Before a second attempt at college, she was asked to care for her cousin’s children, who she then legally adopted.

Thanks to the Satterfield scholarship, Rivera started school in January 2021 at Tunxis Community College, working toward an associate’s degree in business administration.

“Mr. and Mrs. Satterfield are very thoughtful and kind for considering others and offering these scholarships. I am extremely appreciative because my husband and I live paycheck to paycheck to take care of our children. This scholarship will allow me to advance my opportunities and increase my pay,” Rivera said. 

Taylor was awarded the second scholarship to attend Manchester Community College, and will soon receive certification as a pharmaceutical technician. He credits God for putting him in the right place at the right time.

“They gave me a shot, not looking at me as a housekeeper or just a young kid. He took the time to listen to me and see me. He didn’t judge me. I will forever be grateful for what they did,” he said. 

The Satterfields plan to continue with the scholarship program.

“The non-clinical staff at HOCC work very hard to support themselves and their families. They deserve an opportunity to advance their education and my wife and I want to help make that dream a reality,” Dr. Satterfield said.

Saving lives and the planet

By Brenda Kestenbaum

About a dozen colleagues from the Hartford Hospital Emergency Department spent part of Earth Day cleaning up litter in Pope Park.

Photo by Chris Rakoczy 

Even as snow fell, an enthusiastic team from the Hartford Hospital Emergency Department gathered on Earth Day to do their part and plant two young trees. 

The group, led by Sarah Wheeler, RN, planted a Japanese maple and flowering dogwood tree — donated by Prides Corner Farm in Cromwell — around the hospital’s flagpole.

After planting the trees, about a dozen colleagues drove to Pope Park, where they fanned out and bagged several loads of litter. The activities were part of a larger initiative of environmentally friendly practices organized by Wheeler, who started a sustainability study in the ED to adopt greener habits and reduce waste.

“We got recycling bins in the ED and worked to get them used correctly,” she explained. “Now we have several bins that are at 100-percent correct utilization.”

The positive response is encouraging to Wheeler, and other departments have joined the efforts, recycling batteries and other materials. The ED team hopes to explore the possibility of reducing plastic usage, finding ways to “choose to reuse” products. 

Bienvenido to the Emergency Department

By Steve Coates

Maria Rodriguez, center, is one of four welcome ambassadors who now greet all those visiting someone in the Hartford Hospital Emergency Department.

Pictured with her, from left, are Emergency Department Assistant Manager, Macllerly Rios, RN, and Yajaira Diaz, unit leader supervisor. 

Photo by Steve Coates 

Having a loved one receiving emergency medical care can be stressful and frightening, a situation exacerbated by pandemic-related visitor restrictions. 

To help, the Hartford Hospital Emergency Department (ED) team implemented an Ambassadors Program in which a designated staff member serves as contact for patients’ loved ones, providing updates from the care team when necessary. 

The ambassadors, all fluent in Spanish, work directly with families and visitors of patients being seen in the ED. Located at the registration desk, they greet them with a business card listing a direct line where they can receive information at all hours of the day. The program, which started as a pilot, includes two full-time and two part-time ambassadors on first and second shifts, seven days a week. 

ED Assistant Manager Macllerly Rios, RN, said communication with the patient’s care team is always a top concern cited in patient surveys. Having fluent Spanish speakers, she said, is also critical to the program’s success. 

“The Emergency Department is a little unique. Patients are already scared. When a patient or their family isn’t fluent in English, that only heightens the anxiety,” Rios said. “Having that person right at the front desk, available from the moment the patient steps through the door, reassures them that we are going to take care of them.” 

Along with improving patient and visitor experience, Yajaira Diaz, unit leader supervisor, said ambassadors enhance the department’s efficiency, taking the task of communicating with visitors off the hands of public safety officers and other care team members. 

“Communication and the comfort of our families and visitors are crucial to the overall care of each ED patient. Our ambassadors provide this valuable service during what is usually a very difficult time for patients and their loved ones,” said Patty Veronneau, RN, MSN, ED nurse director. 

As part of the program, a physically-distanced waiting area has been designated on Bliss 5 for families to meet with their ambassador or care team. 

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